2/21/17: Pet Scan 3/01/17: Dr. Kritz visit to review the results BIG PARTY AT MY PLACE TO CELEBRATE THE MILESTONE! No matter what the results of the Pet Scan are, it's time to celebrate this milestone! If I have to get radiation because Bertha's still active, fine. If she's completely dormant, EVEN BETTER! NO MATTER WHAT.....
IT IS TIME TO PARTY!
CHEMO IS DONE!
BIG BERTHA AIN'T BIG NO MORE!
THIS CHAPTER IS ALMOST OFFICIALLY CLOSED!
So mark your calendars now and more details will follow.
Hearing about the maintenance treatments *DID* send me into a bit of a tailspin. I'm not going to lie. I thought I remembered my Mom's maintenance as being 1 treatment every 6 months for a year. So, when I heard every 2 months for 2 years and you'll need to keep your port....well....my poor little chemo brain wasn't ready for that news. But now that I've talked to the super fantastic nurses about it, I'm ready for it. It's not the time it will take me to get the treatments, nor does it have anything to do with going to the Cancer Center - I come out of there inspired and happy every single time. The part that was getting me down were the side effects. I am TIRED of gaining weight. I am TIRED. Period. (The fatigue sucks.). But since I now know I won't be getting the things that cause these things, I'm ready for it! Bertha is gone and she is NOT welcome to come back! EVER!
Bailey has stayed with me during my biopsy surgery and every single chemo treatment. Every single time that she shows up, my completely neurotic dog, Penelope Pitstop, forgets that she's ever met my niece and has a meltdown. Except for this time around! This really happened....
A miracle captured forever....Pitstop is initiating this!
Pitstop jumped on Bailey's lap and is actually SMILING! HOLY SMOKIN MARSHMALLOW! I've *NEVER* gotten a picture of her this happy!
Growing up short, I've heard it all... Dynamite comes in small packages. Little/Small but mighty! And though she be little, she is fierce. It's not the size of the girl in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the girl. Well, come to think of it, the smallest things I take during treatments have caused the most side effects. First is the Decadron. The steroids. O. M. G. If I don't stay on top of these little b*astards, they will stop my plumbing from working. Completely. Period. No doubt about it. AND, these are the reason I've gained 22 pounds over the last 6 months. SERIOUSLY?!? I mean, look at them....
(They deserved a bird, sorry, I couldn't help myself!)
Below they are the little green pills. They're like 1/3 of the size of a Tylenol! LITTLE STINKERS!
Next is the Bendamustine. It takes 10 minutes to infuse. That's it. I get it 2 days in a row and it kicks my BUTT! OMG! This is what causes my inner energizer bunny to say "just lay down and ride it out". I'm a blob for at least 3 days because of this stuff! And then, without warning for the next 28 days, the bottom can fall out of my day and I just need to lay down and ride it out. Wow.
I guess dynamite REALLY DOES come in small packages! Thank you for helping me kick Bertha to the curb...but man have you ever kicked my butt.
The good news is NEITHER of these drugs will be part of my maintenance treatments! YAY! I will only have to take the Rituxan + Tylenol + Zofran (for possible nausea). WHEW!
It's hard to believe that I'm finally here, but chemo is DONE. D-O-N-E DONE! WHEW! The path from July 1 to now has been one wild ride. Absolutely. The Cancer Center ROCKED my treatment, as usual. Here's some pictures:
Day #1 I had Nancy. She knew us from my mom's Cancer days. Prepping the port is mucho-important!
Port stick. I, literally, don't feel a thing. Lidocaine creme ROCKS!
Final prep then onto hooking up the fluids + marinating (more about this later).
This is Melissa and Nancy, checking and double-checking my bag of Rituxan. I couldn't feel safer in the hands of these angels.
Cranking up the Rituxan. BUH BYE BERTHA!
Day #2 I *FINALLY* get Devinder as my primary nurse! YAY! She's been there since the beginning, has been on the Bye Bertha team since Day #1, but I have never had her as my primary nurse. Denise said it got kinda ugly when they were all meeting to review the patient list. Apparently, Devinder was *NOT* going to let me finish my treatments w/out her! Gotta love these ladies!
Day #2 is only the Bendamustine....little bag w/a LOT of kick (more on this later).
What I learned today during my appointment with Jessica/Dr. Kritz is my next 2 years will look something like this: 1. Finish Chemo #6 this week. 2. In 6 weeks, if insurance will pay for it, get a Pet Scan. 3. Also in 6 weeks, my immune system should be pretty much recovered and my fatigue should be lessening! YAY! I canNOT wait to start losing the weight I've gained! 4. In 7 weeks, review Pet Scan results w/Dr. Kritz and Jessica. a. (Which I do NOT anticipate happening) Start radiation if Bertha is still active. 5. In 2 months, get maintenance Rituxan. 6. 2 months after that, get maintenance Rituxan. ...continue maintenance for 2 years. What does this mean? This means I need to keep my port for 2 more years. No biggie, I hardly feel her. She will just need to be flushed every 6 weeks. This means I'll get to keep seeing the infusion nurses that I love so much! I think it would just be too hard on ALL of us if I just stopped seeing them cold turkey! ;) This means Rituxan every 2 months but no chemo so I won't have the side effects like I've had for the past 6 months. Rituxan is Bertha's enemy so I need to just embrace that it's going to be part of my life for a while. By January 2019, this will all just be a sweet memory. My blood counts have remained strong throughout this past 6 months. The fatigue is kicking my butt, but it could be a lot worse. My Warriors have helped to keep me strong and able to fight this HUMONGOUS battle against Big Bertha. If I gotta do maintenance, I gotta do maintenance.